Daniel Ricciardo says he missed out on an opportunity to win the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2015 when Red Bull blocked him from joining Porsche’s winning effort in the endurance classic.
Ahead of its 2015 onslaught at Le Mans, Porsche approached several high-profile drivers, including Fernando Alonso and four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti, as it sought to complete the line-up of a third entry at the legendary event.
But Ricciardo was also at the top of Porsche’s short list and talks were initiated with the Aussie by the German manufacturer’s then LMP1 boss and future McLaren F1 chief Andreas Seidl.
“Andreas is a guy that I do really look forward to working with,” Ricciardo said.
“I was first in contact with him I think back in 2014. There was a bit of a push to try and do Le Mans at the time with Porsche and there was a little bit of small talks.
“I’ve heard people who have worked with him speak very highly and I’m looking forward to that. I’ll keep being a sponge and trying to make myself better.”
Unfortunately, talks never came to fruition as Red Bull blocked Ricciardo’s Le Mans ambitions, while Porsche eventually recruited then Force India charger Nico Hulkenberg who, along with Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber, steered their #19 Porsche to an outright Le Mans win.
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Seidl remembers the conversations, and relishes a second chance to work with Ricciardo next year at McLaren.
“Yeah, we had some conversations back in the day,” Seidl said.
“Unfortunately he didn’t get the permission at that time to join the project. I think that would have been an interesting experience for us but also for him. The car he was supposed to drive actually won Le Mans.
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“Daniel was always a driver I was following throughout his entire F1 career. I always liked his performance on-track, but also the way how he comes across as a person outside of the car with his positivity, which is something very important for me also to have within the team.
“I’m simply happy that it finally worked out for next year, and I’m looking forward once he’s joined us in January.”
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